9 levels of tsumego

  1. Straightforward move just works.
  2. Obvious clever (tesuji) just works.
  3. Long straightforward ladder.
  4. Careful reading of possible moves is necessary to figure out the solution.
  5. Finding an impossible move is necessary for the solution.
  6. Nested tsumego: to figure out which moves don’t work, you need to solve another tsumego down the line.
  7. The rank of the problem is too high for straightforward move to just work, but it’s completely unclear why it doesn’t.
  8. It’s completely unclear what are you even supposed to be trying to achieve.
  9. Random stones are scattered on the board and it’s supposed to have a solution for some reason

Most of tsumego are solved with the obvious move though. And it’s hard for it to not be obvious, after all, that’s the one that solves the tsumego.


That’s how I feel most of the time, but I don’t think it’s puzzle’s fault. :grin:

I think this progression is neat, but it moves accordingly with player’s strength.

According to Janice Kim, “professionals solve 10k tsumego all the time”.

I think pros are pretty well agreed that that the average tsumego done in a typical regular run should take you less than a minute to solve.

Hard tsumego are more of an entertainment than a training grind, which is fine.


I just watched this video.

At the end, Lee Jihyeon 9p gives an ambiguous opinion.

Q. Which do is better to do, a few hard problems or many easy problems?

A. I’d recommend doing hard ones if you’re able to. For amateur players, it’s more effective to do easy problems in a limited time. If that’s difficult, you don’t need to do a lot of tsumego. All you gotta do is just do it consistently. Doing a lot of them would be better though.

The channel is Cho’s Go. It looks good, though it’s a shame it was apparently only active from February to June of last year.